The month of October comes with a handful of festivals celebrated around the world. Some of them have strong religious foundations while others are celebrated with an idea of strengthening the family as well as communal bonding. Few of the festivals are truly bizarre, whereas, others are totally joyous & hilarious. Here we present a list of the top 10 festivals celebrated in October.
‘Oktoberfest’ is a 16 day long ‘beer-soaked’ extravaganza which is celebrated in Munich, Germany. The festival is celebrated for & with ‘Bavarian Beer’ from Munich’s best breweries. Apart from the beer, the revelers gobble down variety of traditional foods such as chicken, roasted pork, sausages, cheese noodles, grilled ham hock & many more. Spectacular exhibition of traditional German music & folk performances, traditional costumes, parades & marching bands add further fun factor in the ‘high spirit’ revelry!
- Phuket Vegetarian Festival:
A nine-day long Vegetarian festival is celebrated at ‘Jui Tui Temple’ of Thailand’s largest island named, Phuket. This vibrant festival is held on the first nine days of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar & is celebrated by the devout followers by sticking to entirely vegetarian diet & observing abstinence from meat & various stimulants. Throughout the festival, various bizarre rituals are also observed for summoning the spirits of gods. Some of the participants indulge in shocking activities such as fire walking & piercing body using knives, skewers & other pointed tools. This horrible act of valor, as per the local beliefs, brings the good fortune & god’s grace.
Diwali which is also known as ‘Festival of Lights’, is India’s one of the biggest & most vibrant festival, which is celebrated invariably throughout the country with unending vigor & undying enthusiasm. The festival is celebrated for five days starting from the fifteenth day of the Indian lunar month of ‘Kartik’ & it involves observing a number of rituals & traditions throughout the festival duration. People decorate their houses using small clay lamps torched up using butter or oil to kick away the darkness.
Apart from that, they draw colorful & intricately patterned designs called ‘Rangoli’ around their doors as well as houses, in order to welcome the goddess Lakshmi, a Hindu deity of wealth. Crackers are burst, sweets & gifts are shared & lots of shopping is done throughout the festive season. This festival signifies the conquest of good over bad & is celebrated to revere the return of the Hindu god Ram to his kingdom after beheading the notorious demon king Ravana in the great battle of ‘Ramayana’- a Hindu mythology.
‘Halloween’ is one of the most famous festivals in the world which is celebrated in the major part of the world on 31st October. This fun-filled festival is usually more enjoyed by the children & teenagers who get them dressed like blood-drenched zombies, fanged Dracula, drooling ogre or sly witches & roam around the town in small patrols to visit every house in the vicinity asking a solitary question to the owner, ‘Trick or Treat?’, in as frightening way as they can. People also prefer keeping carved pumpkin outside their homes to ward off the evil spirits. This adorable festival is praised for the ultimate & most bizarre costumes & amazing artistry in pumpkin carvings.
- Moon Festival:
Moon festival or more famously known as the ‘Mid-Autumn Festival’ is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese eighth month. The festival is more or less like a ‘Thanksgiving’ wherein family reunion holds the highest significance. As per the Chinese belief, the full moon on this night shines with its maximum brightness which signifies the opulence & unity. During the festive night, people stay up till wee hours & also enjoy parading through the city roads with spectacular colorful lanterns. The atmosphere gets illuminated by elaborately decorated floats & lit up decorations. Sweet pastries, cake & fruits are also shared throughout the night, making it a candid family hangout.
- Pushkar Camel Fair:
The month of October sees the world’s largest congregation of camels in the parched land of Indian desert in Rajasthan. The annual five –day ‘Camel Fair’ which is held in the town of Pushkar in the Indian state of Rajasthan features the colorful jamboree of camels & herdsmen which attracts hundreds of tourists from around the world. Thousands of livestock consisting of camels, cows, ponies, sheep & goats are bought or sold during the five days of the fair. The fair takes place on the banks of ‘Lake Pushkar’ from Kartik Ekadashi to the Kartik Poornima (Full Moon day) as per the Hindu calendar. The fair also holds various competitions such as ‘Matka phod’ (Break the Pot), ‘Longest Mustache’ as well as bridal competition that make this fair even more lively. Beauty parade of decorated camels is the best part of this fair, which draws the highest number of tourists & photographers.
- Tubingen Duck Race:
This amazing fun festival is organized in the Tubingen town near Stuttgart in Germany. The festival consists of a weird race participated by the tiny ducklings, well, not the living one though, but the rubber replicas of them, which, more often than not, found in & around baby bathtubs. This truly surreal race takes place in the River Necker & is kept open for everyone with a rubber duck. Spectators hang a tag bearing their name around the duck’s neck, release it in the river current & cheer along the riverside enjoying the spectacular site of wobbling ducklings. Every year, over 7000 rubber ducks participate in this fun race to win €10,000 worth of prizes.
Dashain is Nepal’s biggest & most auspicious annual festival, which is celebrated for the 15 days starting from ‘Shukla Paksha’ of the month ‘Ashwin’ till the ‘Poornima’ (the Full moon) as per the Hindu calendar. The festival is celebrated for worshiping the goddess ‘Kali’ who is considered as the deity of Power (Shakti) as per Hindu beliefs. This festival also witnesses the greatest gatherings of Nepali families as all the family members congregate from around the world to worship the goddess. The ‘Ghatasthapana’ (‘Kalasha’ or a Pot placing ceremony) symbolizes the beginning of Dashain. This colorful & energetic festival is considered as the national festival of Nepal.
- Okunchi Matsuri:
Okunchi Matsuri is one of the most vibrant festivals of Japan, which is celebrated in the city of Nagasaki. The festival is celebrated in the memories of the Dutch & Chinese traders who were allowed to anchor their ships along the city’s coast, which resulted in the Japan’s introduction with non-Japanese world. Earlier, outsiders were not allowed to trade near Japanese coast & it was the first incidence that broke all the shackles & opened up a gateway for Japanese to shake hand with the outside world. Locals celebrate this revolutionary incidence by demonstrating Dutch dance & Chinese Dragon dance together with street fairs, processions & other forms of entertainment. The festival also features the procession of the decorated palanquin called ‘Mikoshi’, which is considered as the ride of the local deity.
- Círio de Nazaré:
Círio de Nazaré is Brazil’s second biggest festival after Rio’s Carnival. The festival is dedicated to Our Lady of Nazareth & is considered as one of the largest religious events in the world which sees the gathering of around two million devotees. The festival is celebrated in the city of ‘Balem do Para’, on the 2nd Sunday of October.